Jessica Spiegel

Jessica Spiegel

I'm a writer & a tourist.

I'm a freelance writer, copywriter, & editor who specializes in travel (especially Italy), makes logistical details easy to understand & fun to read, & produces clean work in a timely manner.

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The Hidden Synagogues of Venice - Venice | Viator

The Jewish Ghetto in Venice is the historic area where Jews were forced to live starting in the early 16th century, and it’s from the Venetian word “gheto” that we got the word “ghetto.” The neighborhood remains a center of Jewish culture in the city, although you’d be hard-pressed to identify any of the five historic synagogues — they’re hidden from view, and have been since they were built.

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Athens Small-Group Food Tour - Athens | Viator

When you find yourself in the hands of a great guide – I mean a truly passionate person, capable of making just about any topic seem relevant and fascinating – you almost don’t care what they’re talking about. On this day, we are Despina’s charges, happy to follow along and listen to everything she had to say.

How to Make Your Venice Gondola Ride More Romantic - Venice Things To Do

One of the lasting images of Venice is the gondola, those sleek black boats with the nearly flat bottoms that snake their way through Venice’s canals, propelled by highly skilled gondoliers in their trademark striped shirts. The image most of us have is a romantic one, but when you arrive in Venice you’ll soon understand why a gondola ride isn’t as romantic as you think it will be.

How to Get an Almost-Free Gondola Ride in Venice

There may be no more quintessentially Venetian image than that of the gondola. The sleek, black boats and the pilots in their striped shirts are ubiquitous in Venice’s waterways, and taking a ride in a gondola is considered by many to be the top item on any agenda while staying in the city. But gondola rides are expensive – and there’s another way to ride a gondola for only a few euro.

12 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Venice

Venice is such a famous city, you probably know everything there is to know about it – right? Wrong. It’s a city of seemingly endless mysteries, many of which are just waiting to be discovered by new visitors. Here are some of the things you probably didn’t know about Venice.

First-Time Venice Visitor Guide

Venice is simultaneously popular and polarizing. You’ll hear most first-time visitors to Italy say they have to include Venice on their itinerary, but you’ll hardly hear anyone who’s been there have anything but strong opinions about it. Venice, if you believe the hype, is the kind of city you either love or hate – no gray area in between.

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Athens City & Acropolis Walking Tour Review

There is an archaeological exhibit in the Syntagma metro station, in the very heart of Athens, that you might walk right past without noticing, as you hurry from one attraction to another. “Surely those must be replicas,” you would say to yourself. “Athens wouldn’t put genuine treasures on display in a metro.”

Oh, but they would.

13 Things You Didn't Know About the Vatican : Things to Do, Top ...

Most people would agree that a visit to Rome is not complete without spending a day seeing the sights of Vatican City. While most of us are familiar with some common bits of trivia about Vatican City, however, this tiny country offers more strange factoids than you can possibly imagine. Here are 13 things you probably didn’t know about Vatican City.

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Skip the Line: Guided Tour of Athens New Acropolis Museum ...

The new Acropolis Museum was opened in 2009, part of a long-running effort on the part of Greece to get the Parthenon Marbles returned to Athens from the British Museum in London. (Don’t call them the “Elgin Marbles” in Athens, by the way.) One of the main excuses the British Museum has used for decades for keeping them was that Athens didn’t have an adequate museum in which to house them. That is absolutely no longer the case – the new Acropolis Museum is state-of-the-art and absolutely beautiful.

The Secret Night Bakeries of Florence - Florence | Viator

As any night owl knows, there’s nothing quite like a late-night snack to perk up one’s energy – particularly if that snack comes fresh out of the oven. In Florence, the best midnight snacks come from the secret night bakeries, but to sample the treats you’ve got to follow the rules.

When Venice Floods: What to Do if You Get Caught in High Water - Venice ...

It may not be surprising to learn that Venice floods on a regular basis. The city is built on the water and it’s sinking – if it didn’t flood regularly, that would be the shocking piece of news. Venetians are prepared for the periodic influx of water, and when Venice floods then you’ll need to be prepared to deal with it, too. After all, life in Venice doesn’t stop because things get a little wet.

Secrets of the Vatican: Fig Leaves on Statues : Things to Do, Top ...

We’ve all seen the idealized nude statues and figures in the art displayed in Rome and elsewhere in Italy, dating back hundreds of years to when nudity wasn’t something to be hidden. On a trip to Vatican City, however, you’ll no doubt see some nude statues and some that have a fig leaf placed over their genitals. Those fig leaves aren’t original — they were added later.

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In the Footsteps of Venetian Rulers: A Skip-the-Line Tour of the Doge's Palace - Venice Things To Do

With a Skip the Line: Doge's Palace Ticket and Tour, you not only get to avoid waiting in the often-long lines outside the ticket office, you learn much more about the palace and its former inhabitants than you would by simply buying an entry ticket on your own. It's an...